Today’s news is likely to be, well, what I said in the headline. Michael Jackson’s memorial service is scheduled for today, and I doubt the news networks will talk of much else. From the description I heard on the radio just now, the event will be just as over the top as Michael was.
We were at the beach when we heard that he had been found unconscious and rushed to the hospital. Much was made of his age — only 50, far too young. The news threw me into a tailspin. As those of you who have been reading here a while know, my brother died suddenly at 50. Hearing about Michael Jackson — before the revelations of long-term drug addiction — took me right back to that day in 2007 when I got the phone call from my beloved brother-in-law. Ken had stopped breathing. The paramedics were there, but it didn’t look good. I threw some clothes in a bag, and we jumped into the car for the drive to Montgomery. We hadn’t even made it to the interstate when he called again — Ken was gone; the paramedics couldn’t revive him. God, I’m sobbing as I write this.
Okay, there are big differences. Ken really was one of the best people I’ve ever known. He spoke out against injustice and did what he could to make a better world, but he never sought the spotlight. He brought beauty into the world with his green thumb and talent for landscape design, but he lived a pretty sedate life, preferring to spend time gardening and hanging out with Tony and their sweet dogs, Paxil and Tallulah. There were no drugs involved in his death. He just…stopped.
There has been and will continue to be all manner of gossip about Michael Jackson, and it will be endlessly dissected by the media for months to come. The sudden death of a celebrity always seems to bring out the worst in us. I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t, and right now I don’t care. I just grieve for the family who lost a son, a brother, a father, and for the friends who mourn his passing.